What Are Teeth Made Of?

December 2, 2011 at 4:09 am 5 comments

What are teeth made of? One day, your kids may ask this question, and you may realize you don’t exactly know the answer. Are teeth and bones made of the same thing? How long do teeth last? Are some teeth stronger than others? Well, Alameda Pediatric Dentistry has got some of the answers!

What are teeth made of?

The actual make-up of teeth is something of a mystery. Teeth are far more complicated than they seem. In short, they are made up of layers. At the very center, there is a substance called pulp, where connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves are located. The pulp extends into a tooth’s root, as does dentin, the next layer, which makes up the majority of the tooth. Dentin protects teeth from the wear and tear of chewing, guards against temperature changes and supports tooth enamel. Enamel, even harder than dentin, coats the whole tooth above the gums, while cementum, coats the roots which hold teeth in place beneath the gum line.

Is this the same material in bones? If not, are teeth just as strong as bones?

There are lots of similarities between teeth and bones, so it’s no wonder people often make this connection. Both contain calcium and are strong and white in color. But they’re not made of the same thing. Bones contain collagen, a living tissue that enables them to grow and withstand pressure. Only the tooth’s dentin contains this tissue. Arguably, teeth are stronger, or at least, harder. The enamel coating teeth is considered the hardest tissue in the body.

Why is milk good for teeth?

The calcium in milk helps strengthen teeth’s enamel. At the same time, milk is low in acidity, and acts like a buffer to neutralize acids. Drinking milk with acidic meals can help reduce the acidity levels in the mouth, thereby reducing damage to the enamel. For the same reasons, cheese is also good for teeth, and between the two, cheese contains less sugar!

Why do they last forever?

Teeth don’t last forever … but as many of us know from watching detective movies and the History channel, teeth outlast much of the human body. The exact length varies depending on several different factors, but ultimately, teeth can last for centuries.

The more critical factor is keeping teeth from falling out during our lifetime, when we need them to stay vital and healthy. Simply brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and seeing your dentist twice a year will help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

Are some people’s teeth stronger than others?    

Just as some people have more cavities than others, teeth will vary from mouth to mouth. Diet, saliva flow and composition, oral hygiene, and even the number of natural grooves found in different teeth will affect their strength, susceptibility to cavities, and the process of demineralization or remineralization. Diet and oral hygiene are factors in every individual’s hands, so ultimately, the strength and longevity of your teeth depends on you!

Entry filed under: Dental Care, Fun Facts, Teeth.

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